Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hops in the Right Direction: Setting an Example

There is only so much awareness I can raise about tripods through this blog and Facebook and the like.  It becomes a lot more effective in person.

A lot of people I come across when I'm out with Prada have little or no experience with dogs with altered mobility.  And because Prada is so fluffy, most don't even notice at first the blank space where her leg would be.  This actually is a good thing, because then they see her first as a dog, and not as "disabled."

I always try to be open for questions, since so many people are curious.  You'd be surprised how many people will ask if you give them the chance.  What happened, how she gets around, whatever.  I try to answer as honestly as possible.  I especially like it when kids ask, because they'll ask anything.  One day this summer, a little boy who lives nearby finally worked up the courage to run up to me and ask all in a rush, "Does she have a hole where her leg was?!"  So I showed him Prada's scar and let him touch it, so he could see it doesn't hurt her at all.  Hopefully, the experience will help him grow up to see a dog with altered mobility as a dog that's a bit different, but not "less than a dog."

I also recently had a friend tell me that he'd always thought tripods couldn't possibly have as good a quality of life as fully-mobile dogs, and assumed it would be kinder to euthanize such a dog.  After meeting Prada and seeing what a happy girl she is, he could see it's not as black and white as that.

Having any dog is a social experience--people love to meet and greet the dogs they come across--but having a tripod means I have the opportunity not just to meet new people or an excuse to chat with neighbors, but also to show how balanced and normal life with an extra-ordinary pet can be.


  1. What. The. Hell.

    Dogs (unlike humans) don't worry about or feel sorry for themselves if they're missing parts: they live in the "now." I've never seen a dog missing a limb act like they were missing something: they adjust and move on. They're a great example of resilience and joy, in my experience.

    Abused/neglected dogs have poor quality of life, but they deserve respect, love and attention too. Our Great Pyrenees came from an abusive home: it just took patience to bring him around so he became part of our household and not the cowering giant in the corner, and he never ever acted aggressively toward anyone in my house. Sigh. I wish people would get that euthenasia is a last resort ONLY.

    1. I absolutely agree, Jess. I believe, though, there are so many people who aren't abusive; they really are trying to do the best they can for their pets. A lot of backyard breeders are that way--they never have a hard time getting their puppies into good homes, so the reality of how many backyard-bred pets end up in shelters, not to mention how many more pets there are than people who are able and willing to give them a loving home, doesn't really strike home.

      I think it's the same way with disabled pets--there is just a lack of awareness there. Which is why I'm always happy to show Prada off and answer questions! (By the way, on today's post, I've got a comic a friend sent my way that you might find relevant.)